What are the symptoms of an ingrown toenail?
The main symptom of an ingrown toenail is pain along the edge of the nail, especially when pressure is applied to the area. Other symptoms may include:
- Swelling and redness around the affected toe
- Drainage of pus from the area
- Difficulty walking or wearing shoes due to the pain.
- A feeling of warmth around the affected area
- Foul-smelling discharge from the affected area (in cases of infection)
What causes an ingrown toenail?
Several factors can contribute to the development of ingrown toenails, including:
- Wearing tight or poorly fitting shoes: Shoes that squeeze the toes together or put pressure on the edges of the nails can cause the nails to grow into the skin.
- Cutting the nails too short: Cutting the nails too short or rounding the corners of the nails can cause the nails to curl and grow into the skin.
- Trauma to the nails: Nails damaged or injured can sometimes grow in a way that causes them to become ingrown.
- Inherited nail shape: Some people are more prone to developing ingrown toenails due to the shape of their nails, which may be more curved or prone to growing inward.
- Fungal infections: Fungal infections of the nails can cause the nails to become thick and distorted, increasing the risk of ingrown toenails.
- Improper foot hygiene: Poor foot hygiene, such as not washing and drying the feet properly, can increase the risk of ingrown toenails.
- Age: Ingrown toenails are more common in older adults due to changes in the nails and skin with age.
Complications of ingrown toenail
If left untreated, ingrown toenails can lead to several complications, including:
- Infection: The skin around the ingrown toenail may become infected, causing redness, swelling, and pus drainage. If not treated, the infection can spread to the bone beneath the skin.
- Chronic pain: Ingrown toenails that are not treated can cause ongoing pain and discomfort, especially when wearing shoes or walking.
- Difficulty walking: Severe pain or infection in the affected toe can make walking or engaging in physical activities difficult.
- Damage to the nail: In some cases, the nail may become damaged or deformed due to an ingrown toenail.
- Damage to the skin: The skin around the ingrown toenail may become thickened and scarred if left untreated.